An impecunious client with a multi-million pound claim against a former business partner found himself in a difficult position. In order to pursue his main claim, he had first to deal with his previous commercial solicitors who had relieved them of all his spare funds and had sued him for more and also a freezing injunction brought by his former business partner against the only funds otherwise at his disposal.
I first encountered the chap in dealing with belated assessment of his former solicitors claim. Me as a barrister by direct access. I managed to mitigate the situation without running up costs any more than necessary. It was clear he was trying to litigate on a shoestring. He was receiving advice from a good solicitor in the background but the solicitor had not yet gone on the record.
Having dealt with the former solicitors costs claim as best we could, I sensed he had very much bigger claims to pursue. We spent several days in conference going over half a dozen separate claims against his former business partner. During these discussions, I learned he was about to face a freezing injunction for the best part of £100,000 in respect of the imminent drawdown of funds from a finance house which was part of a repayment to him of his “skin in the game” for a £70 million property finance business.
It transpired that the client’s former business partner had in fact helped to “window dress” the money in the first place. The client thought the money had come from his business partner and acknowledged that he owed it subject to a set-off against his own claim amounting to several million pounds. What he didn’t know, at the time, was that the money had come from a company of which they had both been directors and shareholders. That is to say his former business partner had arranged to lend him his own money.
The other side had three years to work out the application for a freezing injunction but issued a hearing “without notice” and against all expectation secured a freezing order.
I attended the return date in the Royal Court of Justice. I presented a 3 page skeleton argument setting out our case. During the hearing before an experienced commercial judge, the applicant laboured, to blacken the name of my client, referring to his questionable conduct at various times, I simply pointed out that the proceedings and the application had been brought in the name of the wrong party, that the applicant had been warned of this nearly 2 years earlier and had done nothing to cover themselves.
The order was discharged in our favor with costs of over £14,000
Face to face conference at solicitors office Birmingham – [12 ½ Hours Preparation, Conference & Travel]
£3150 + VAT
RCJ Hearing Freezing Injunction return date – [13 1/2 Hours Preparation, Drafting Skeleton, Hearing Representation & Travel]
£4000 + VAT